Google announced the yesterday that it’s shutting down Stadia as it is for consumer use. The servers will shut down on 18th of January 2023.
The writing had already been on the wall for a while. The first signs of Google losing faith in Stadia came in February 2021 when they announced the closing of their internal game studios. Since then it’s been a downhill: many new AAA games (excluding a few) have skipped Stadia as a platform as Google has not been able (or committed enough) to attract major game publishers and developers to Stadia. As a result, the game catalog remained quite thin compared to other platforms. No games = no players = not attractive platform for publishers.
I bought into Stadia immediately at launch. I was attracted by the novelty of cloud gaming, the easiness of jumping into the game as well as all the potential of cloud gaming.
Stadia had it’s peak around the Cyberpunk 2077 launch. There were good campaigning going on ath the time, which attracted some new people to Stadia. At the same time Stadia got positive news coverage as Stadia was the best performing platform for Cyberpunk around it’s launch (which was quite a dumpsterfire).
Shutting down Stadia did not come as a surprise. As said, it seemed that things had already been winding down for a while, not to mention Google is notoriusly famous for killing off it’s consumer products/services that their fans love but not get enough traction.
Killing off services that customers use is nasty business. However, if you need to kill off a service, the way Google is now handling the shutdown of Stadia is the way to do it. Apparently, they will refund all purchases made on Stadia except the monthly Pro subscription. That means, they will refund for all the games, addons and hardware purchased. The estimation is that the refunds have been (at least mostly) processed by mid-January 2023.
While I enjoyed Stadia for a time, the lack of games drove me to PS5. Whatever gaming I do, it’s on that device. While I have not given (nor am I planning to, at least for the time being) a proper try to other cloud gaming solutions (such as Amazon’s Luna, Microsoft’s Game Pass, Nvidia’s Geforce Now, Parsec), I will keep an eye on how the cloud gaming industry develops.